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Gavin P. Dunn, Konstantinos Spiliopoulos, Scott R. Plotkin, Francis J. Hornicek, David C. Harmon, Thomas F. Delaney, and Ziv Williams

Object

Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) are aggressive sarcomas that often arise from major peripheral nerves. Approximately half of MPNSTs arise in patients with neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) who, in comparison with patients without NF1, present at younger ages and with larger tumors that are commonly associated with extensive plexiform neurofibromas. These tumors therefore pose a particularly difficult treatment challenge because of the morbidity often associated with attempted gross-total resection (GTR). Here, the authors aim to examine what role the extent of resection and other covariates play in the long-term survival of patients with NF1 in the setting of MPNST.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of 23 adult patients with NF1 who underwent surgery for MPNSTs at their institution between 1991 and 2008. The primary end points of the study were mortality, local recurrence, and metastasis. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were evaluated for all patients. Differences for each of the primary end points were evaluated based on cause-specific covariates, which included tiered tumor size, tumor location, grade, resection margin status, postoperative weakness, and use of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Multivariate analysis was performed using Cox proportional hazards models.

Results

Gross-total resection (p = 0.01) and surgical margin status (p = 0.034) had a statistically important role in prolonging overall survival in patients with NF1 by univariate analysis. When tumor size, location, grade, postoperative weakness, and radiation therapy were also taken into account using multivariate analysis, GTR continued to be a significant prognostic factor (p = 0.035).

Conclusions

These findings suggest that GTR offers significant long-term benefit on survival in patients with NF1. Benefit on survival occurred independently of all other covariates, suggesting that complete resection should be the principal goal of treatment in this patient population.

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Ronny L. Rotondo, Wendy Folkert, Norbert J. Liebsch, Yen-Lin E. Chen, Frank X. Pedlow, Joseph H. Schwab, Andrew E. Rosenberg, G. Petur Nielsen, Jackie Szymonifka, Al E. Ferreira, Francis J. Hornicek, and Thomas F. Delaney

OBJECT

Spinal chordomas can have high local recurrence rates after surgery with or without conventional dose radiation therapy (RT). Treatment outcomes and prognostic factors after high-dose proton-based RT with or without surgery were assessed.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of 126 treated patients (127 lesions) categorized according to disease status (primary vs recurrent), resection (en bloc vs intralesional), margin status, and RT timing.

RESULTS

Seventy-one sacrococcygeal, 40 lumbar, and 16 thoracic chordomas were analyzed. Mean RT dose was 72.4 GyRBE (relative biological effectiveness). With median follow-up of 41 months, the 5-year overall survival (OS), local control (LC), locoregional control (LRC), and distant control (DC) for the entire cohort were 81%, 62%, 60%, and 77%, respectively. LC for primary chordoma was 68% versus 49% for recurrent lesions (p = 0.058). LC if treated with a component of preoperative RT was 72% versus 54% without this treatment (p = 0.113). Among primary tumors, LC and LRC were higher with preoperative RT, 85% (p = 0.019) and 79% (0.034), respectively, versus 56% and 56% if no preoperative RT was provided. Overall LC was significantly improved with en bloc versus intralesional resection (72% vs 55%, p = 0.016), as was LRC (70% vs 53%, p = 0.035). A trend was noted toward improved LC and LRC for R0/R1 margins and the absence of intralesional procedures.

CONCLUSIONS

High-dose proton-based RT in the management of spinal chordomas can be effective treatment. In patients undergoing surgery, those with primary chordomas undergoing preoperative RT, en bloc resection, and postoperative RT boost have the highest rate of local tumor control; among 28 patients with primary chordomas who underwent preoperative RT and en bloc resection, no local recurrences were seen. Intralesional and incomplete resections are associated with higher local failure rates and are to be avoided.

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Nicholas M. Barbaro

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Michiel E. R. Bongers, Paul T. Ogink, Katrina F. Chu, Anuj Patel, Brett Rosenthal, John H. Shin, Sang-Gil Lee, Francis J. Hornicek, and Joseph H. Schwab

OBJECTIVE

Reconstruction of the mobile spine following total en bloc spondylectomy (TES) of one or multiple vertebral bodies in patients with malignant spinal tumors is a challenging procedure with high failure rates. A common reason for reconstructive failure is nonunion, which becomes more problematic when using local radiation therapy. Radiotherapy is an integral part of the management of primary malignant osseous tumors in the spine. Vascularized grafts may help prevent nonunion in the radiotherapy setting. The authors have utilized free vascularized fibular grafts (FVFGs) for reconstruction of the spine following TES. The purpose of this article is to describe the surgical technique for vascularized reconstruction of defects after TES. Additionally, the outcomes of consecutive cases treated with this technique are reported.

METHODS

Thirty-nine patients were treated at the authors’ tertiary care institution for malignant tumors in the mobile spine using FVFG following TES between 2010 and 2018. Postoperative union, reoperations, complications, neurological outcome, and survival were reported. The median follow-up duration was 50 months (range 14–109 months).

RESULTS

The cohort consisted of 26 males (67%), and the median age was 58 years. Chordoma was the most prevalent tumor (67%), and the lumbar spine was most affected (46%). Complete union was seen in 26 patients (76%), the overall complication rate was 54%, and implant failure was the most common complication, with 13 patients (33%) affected. In 18 patients (46%), one or more reoperations were needed, and the fixation was surgically revised 15 times (42% of reoperations) in 10 patients (26%). A reconstruction below the L1 vertebra had a higher proportion of implant failure (67%; 8 of 12 patients) compared with higher resections (21%; 5 of 24 patients) (p = 0.011). Graft length, number of resected vertebrae, and docking the FVFG on the endplate or cancellous bone was not associated with union or implant failure on univariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

The FVFG is an effective reconstruction technique, particularly in the cervicothoracic spine. However, high implant failure rates in the lumbar spine have been seen, which occurred even in cases in which the graft completely healed. Methods to increase the weight-bearing capacity of the graft in the lumbar spine should be considered in these reconstructions. Overall, the rates of failure and revision surgery for FVFG compare with previous reports on reconstruction after TES.

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Nicolas Dea, Charles G. Fisher, Jeremy J. Reynolds, Joseph H. Schwab, Laurence D. Rhines, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Chetan Bettegowda, Arjun Sahgal, Áron Lazáry, Alessandro Luzzati, Stefano Boriani, Alessandro Gasbarrini, Ilya Laufer, Raphaële Charest-Morin, Feng Wei, William Teixeira, Niccole M. Germscheid, Francis J. Hornicek, Thomas F. DeLaney, John H. Shin, and the AOSpine Knowledge Forum Tumor

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to investigate the spectrum of current treatment protocols for managing newly diagnosed chordoma of the mobile spine and sacrum.

METHODS

A survey on the treatment of spinal chordoma was distributed electronically to members of the AOSpine Knowledge Forum Tumor, including neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and radiation oncologists from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Survey participants were pre-identified clinicians from centers with expertise in the treatment of spinal tumors. The suvey responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics.

RESULTS

Thirty-nine of 43 (91%) participants completed the survey. Most (80%) indicated that they favor en bloc resection without preoperative neoadjuvant radiation therapy (RT) when en bloc resection is feasible with acceptable morbidity. The main area of disagreement was with the role of postoperative RT, where 41% preferred giving RT only if positive margins were achieved and 38% preferred giving RT irrespective of margin status. When en bloc resection would result in significant morbidity, 33% preferred planned intralesional resection followed by RT, and 33% preferred giving neoadjuvant RT prior to surgery. In total, 8 treatment protocols were identified: 3 in which en bloc resection is feasible with acceptable morbidity and 5 in which en bloc resection would result in significant morbidity.

CONCLUSIONS

The results confirm that there is treatment variability across centers worldwide for managing newly diagnosed chordoma of the mobile spine and sacrum. This information will be used to design an international prospective cohort study to determine the most appropriate treatment strategy for patients with spinal chordoma.